By Darryl Warner
Just when you thought Skyline beat South Lyon in four sets against South Lyon, think again. The Eagles needed a fifth set to beat South Lyon to advance to the Regional finals Thursday night.
Skyline will play Northville High School at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday night in the Regional final. Northville knocked off SEC powerhouse Bedford in four sets in the other Regional semifinal. The two teams met in a scrimmage early in the season but since then have gone their separate ways – until Thursday night. The game will be at Skyline HS.
In the first set against South Lyon, the visitors jumped out to 3-0 lead, but Skyline answered with six straight points to take a 6-3 lead. South Lyon called timeout and answered with two points before Murray scored a kill shot to keep Skyline ahead 7-5. With the score tied 8-8 Skyline scored two more points with an ace and kill from Murray to maintain a 10-8 lead.
The score remained close at 16-13 before skyline scored three consecutive points highlighted by an ace from Olivia Cristian and a kill by Murray. South Lyon fought back to close the lead again to 19-17. To slow down South Lyon’s momentum Skyline called timeout. South Lyon would only score two more points in the first set and the Eagles won the last two points off a Sasha Akuezue tip and an ace from Lauren Lee, winning set one 25-19.
In set two, Skyline and South Lyon fought hard and fast for each point. The score was tied 5-5 before Skyline scored two consecutive points from a Murray tip and ace opening the lead to 7-5. Skyline would open their lead to 12-7 following two kills and a tip from Cristian. South Lyon would charge back and tie the score at 14-14 after a Skyline passing error. Skyline would call timeout as South Lyon took a 17-15 lead.
Skyline tied the score 17-17 after South Lyon hit the ball into the net. South Lyon would answer with two more points and open the lead to 19-17. Skyline tied the score 20-20 after a Greta Schorer kill and a South Lyon serve into the net. Both teams traded points back and forth and the score was tied on two occasions late in the set, 22-22 and 24-24. Skyline won set two 26-24 after a Murray kill and South Lyon illegal touch of the net.
In the third set, South Lyon would push their weight around and jumped out to a 6-3 lead. Skyline called timeout as their team appeared to be out of rhythm. Skyline gained momentum and tied the score 7-7. Murray and Cristian would score three points, but South Lyon answered again and tied the score 10-10. South Lyon would score the next four consecutive points to push ahead 14-11. Murray would score on a kill but South Lyon’s defense scored on several key blocks at the net and they pushed ahead 17-12. Coach Cristian called timeout and the Eagles mounted a comeback and closed the lead 19-17. South Lyon would go on to win 6 of the next 10 points and won the third set 25-21.
With momentum on their side South Lyon was energized and eager to play the fourth set. The score was tied 7-7 before a Murray kill and a couple of errors by South Lyon opened the Eagle’s lead to 10-7. South Lyon called a timeout and they answered with a block to close the gap to 10-8. After a couple of more errors by South Lyon and two blocks at the net by Murray and Lee, Skyline opened the lead to 14-11.
Skyline charged forward 19-16 with a kill by Cristian. South Lyon would continue to chip away at the lead and tied the score 20-20 after an attempted block by Skyline flew out of bounds. With Stacie Warner serving the Eagles would open the lead to 23-21. South Lyon called timeout to regain their composure and a serve out of bounds cut the lead to 23-22. The scored remained tied at 25-25 before South Lyon served into the net and Skyline took the lead 26-25. Cristian delivered an excellent serve that was difficult for South Lyon to return, and Murray landed a kill shot to win the fourth set 27-25.
Unaware of the foot foul called by the floor referee, the Eagle bench stormed the floor and fans erupted in celebration. Shocked by the call, both teams immediately returned to their perspective benches to play on with the score tied 26-26. Skyline scored the next point on a beautiful set from Lee to Murray booming kill to the same exact spot on the floor as her previous shot. The score would tie again 28-28 before South Lyon scored two consecutive points off a block and ace, winning the fourth set 30-28.
Before the beginning of the 5th set the Eagles gathered at center court pumping their fist in determination of winning the deciding set. The Eagles took an early lead 2-0 after kills by Cristian and Murray. South Lyon would answer with a kill and narrow the margin to 2-1. Skyline would answer back with three consecutive points following Murray’s block and kill, and a tip by Akuezue to open the lead to 5-2.
South Lyon called timeout, which did not faze Rin Sato who answered with a serve that crawled over the net and landed at the feet of a South Lyon defender, opening the lead to 6-2. Skyline continued to advance and open the lead to 8-4 following a Murray kill. Warner delivered a difficult serve to South Lyon leading them to being called for four touches, opening the lead to 9-4.
As quickly as Skyline reached a five point lead, South Lyon narrowed the score to 12-9. An amazing jump, stretch and tip by Murray opened the Eagle lead to 13-9. South Lyon called timeout, which did not slow down the Eagles who delivered a crushing blow to South Lyon when Akuezue made an awesome block at the net. South Lyon would score one more point, but Lee would deliver the winning point on what appeared to be a set, but quickly turned into a tip that landed in the middle of three South Lyon players, aiding in Skylines 15-10 victory.